Buying a Video Card - Need Help

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by markjones05, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. markjones05 macrumors 6502a

    markjones05

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #1
    My ATI Radeon X1900 is on it's way out and I need to buy a replacement card. Problem is, I don't know what card to get. The only two cards available for my MacPro on the Apple website are the ATI Radeon X1900 and The NVIDIA Geforce 8800 GT. The guy I talked to at Applecare said that there might be other cards available for my machine at other retailers, but I'm not really sure how to shop for something like this. Ive attached my Hardware Overview below, if anyone has a similar machine or knows about video cards and can point me in the right direction I would be immensely grateful.

    (FYI) I am a video editor and motion graphics artist and this is my work machine.

    Hardware Overview:

    Model Name: Mac Pro
    Model Identifier: MacPro1,1
    Processor Name: Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 3 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 2
    Total Number Of Cores: 4
    L2 Cache (per processor): 4 MB
    Memory: 4 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.33 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: MP11.005C.B08
    SMC Version (system): 1.7f10
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #2
    Get a 4870 if you want an ATI card, either Apple's or a stock PC one (use netkas' injector so that you don't have to flash).
     
  3. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #3
    If you see an ATI HD3870 Mac&PC Edition for good money that would be worth a grab as well. It needs a dual slot cooler but that is a 20$ upgrade anybody can do himself. The energy bill is lower than a 4870 and you have no software issues with Leopard.
     
  4. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    #4
    Better Video Cards for cheap.

    I bought an ATI Sapphire HD 4870 1 GB PC card for £140 ($226) and got it flashed to contain Mac and PC drivers. Saved a fortune and it canes pro apps as well as games.
    Highly recommended! ATI cards support Core Image in OS X and are the standard cards of choice for Mac Pro workhorses. It runs cool and quiet. :D
    The info on how to do the conversion is in the link below.
    Good luck and don't buy an overpriced ($349) 512 mb one from Apple, or a GTX 285 (which is only better at gaming) for $449 and is currently only available for later models. :eek:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=7473867&postcount=886
     
  5. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #5
    I bought insanely overpriced Radeon 4870 from Apple for my mac pro (same generation as yours). I considered buying the PC version and flashing it, but after spending a lot of time reading and a lot of time thinking about it, it wasn't worth the hassle to me. There have been lots of bugs and quirks that cost me time. In the end, I decided that in the long run, spending $350 on the Apple card is a bargain compared to those who have had issues with their flashed cards. Some people like to tinker around with and tweak their cards. I just want mine to work. And, boy, does it eve!

    +1 for the Apple ATI Radeon 4870
     
  6. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #6
    Bozz, have you stressed the card yet? Considering this card as well as the nvidia or maybe the flashed version. Don't like buggy stuff in my system so probably buy an apple one. Curious to know if the fans kick up loud when stressed.
     
  7. Harry322 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    Sounds like I'll be going this route, too, Bozz.

    Could you, or someone else, answer a few questions for me though?

    1. Even though it "officially" requires a newer Mac Pro, will the 4870 still be OpenCL compatible in Snow Leopard?

    2. When the 4870 is hooked up to the power supply (2 cables right?), is there still room to power a pair of Velociraptor Hard drives in the second optical bay?

    Thanks!
     
  8. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #8
    I don't play games but I have have edited several short movies on it and tested it by playing 8 handbraked movies at the same time with quicktime and had no slowdowns, no flakiness, no problems. This is admittedly more card than I need, but my 7300GT was getting flaky and I wanted to upgrade, so I decided to go all out.
     
  9. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #9
    I don't know about OpenCL compatible, but I imagine it will work fine. I'm not worried about that in the least.

    It does have two power supplies, which plug into two ports near the airport card. I can't imagine that it would interfere with having VRs in the optical bay. Do you have them in now? Do they just use the extra SATA ports, or do they need their own power leads as well?
     
  10. Harry322 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    Good to hear.

    I'm about to purchase them - and connect them to one of the macuprgrades optical bay sleds. I can't tell from the pictures on their site, but it looks like they connect to the power supply on the second optical drive - not the ports that would be occupied by the 4870.

    Let's hope for the best.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  11. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #11
    That is how I would assume that they are hooked up. Might be a good idea to give them a call and ask though.

    edit: Hoping for the best!
     
  12. Harry322 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #12
    Thanks. I will call and ask to be sure.

    One other issue that's been bugging me, especially as I calculate the costs, is whether to buy the expensive, but somewhat crippled Apple card or flash a retail one for dramatically less money.

    I know which route you went Bozz, and I'm inclined to agree. But I am wondering if I purchased a 1GB 4870 with a faster clock speed, how noticeable the performance would be in Motion and FCP.

    And I should note that I don't have Windows, and would rather not install it to flash the card. What are the downsides of using Netkas' injector - which doesn't require flashing, as I understand.

    Thanks
     
  13. Topper macrumors 65816

    Topper

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    #13
    ATI Radeon HD 4870 Mac Edition

    If you like flashing cards and all that kind of hoopla... ATI Radeon HD 4890.
    .
     
  14. Harry322 macrumors member

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #14
    Topper, does a flashed 4890 work with OpenCL?

    Would a flashed 4870 for that matter?
     
  15. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #15
    What about the new GTX 285 mac edition? Or is that not compatible with your Mac Pro?
     
  16. Harry322 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #16
    Sadly, no. I have the 1,1 2006 Mac Pro.

    So the options I'm considering are:

    1. The 4870 Mac Edition - expensive, less powerful, but 100% compatible with the Mac Pro, OpenCL and any warranty-related issues I may have. The safe choice.

    2. A PC version of the 4870. More powerful and cheaper. I would need to flash it, which requires Windows and boot camp - two things I don't want or know about. A great choice - but I'm worried about compatibility with OpenCL and the potential dangers of flashing.

    3. A 4890. More powerful than the 4870 (?), but requires using an injector. As far as I can tell the only downside to this is that I will never see the grey apple screen while I wait for the computer to boot again (I don't care about boot camp or Windows). Is that the only downside to using Injectors?

    Which of these three cards would offer the best performance in FCP and Motion? Is the 4890 worth it to someone who doesn't do Windows or gaming? Can anyone weigh in on this and help me narrow it down?

    Thanks!
     
  17. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #17
    The 4890 is a very powerful card for someone who's not a gamer. I think the best solution for you would be to get a 4870, probably just the mac edition since you don't want to deal with flashing. On the other hand, if the 4890 is cheaper than the mac 4870, and you're feeling adventurous, you might try that instead.
     
  18. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #18
    But, be prepared for a few headaches if you do. For that matter, be prepared for headaches with a flashed 4870. As I mentioned earlier, in my opinion it is definitely not worth the potential hassle. Not even close.
     
  19. Zokim macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    #19
    I agree, I too bought the apple 4870 for my 2,1 mac pro and I'm happy with it.
     
  20. markjones05 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    markjones05

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #20
    This computer is from 2006, in the description its says:

    Compatibility:

    * Requires Mac Pro (Early 2009 with 1066MHz DDR3 memory) or Mac Pro (Early 2008 with 800MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM memory) with PCI Express 2.0 slot

    Are you sure this will work with my MacPro????

    Update: I can now no longer even work in After Effects without my entire time line dissapearing. I am looking to buy this card TODAY at a local apple store.
     
  21. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #21
    I confirm that it works. I have it in my 2006 Mac Pro.
     
  22. markjones05 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    markjones05

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #22
    Thanks mate, Im on my way out the door!
     
  23. knightflyer99 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #23
    4870

    Let me know how it works for you as I too have an old 2006 and need to upgrade my 1900 as its becoming flaky.....
     
  24. markjones05 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    markjones05

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #24
    Thanks to bozz2006 I did purchase the card despite every single person at the apple store swearing up and down that it would NOT work. I started to get worried so I asked what the return policy was and they said if it's open you can not return it. So I went to an apple reseller where it was 10 dollars cheaper and I could return it for a restocking fee and they also said there is no way it would work. I bought it anyway, installed it (took about 3 minutes, no software necessary) and it works like a charm. Thanks to everyone on this forum for once again knowing more than all the so called mac experts, including Apple....
     
  25. markjones05 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    markjones05

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #25
    I did a pretty large After Effects render last night, and heard no increased noise from fans during the course of the render. It does, however, run a tiny bit louder than my old X1900, but not to a degree that is noticeable without putting your ear near the tower.
     

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